What is alcoholic neuropathy?

Alcoholic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by excessive drinking, or alcoholism. It is believed that malnutrition cause by alcoholism is one of the main causes behind the nerve damage. Alcohol makes the body unable to use or store certain essential vitamins and minerals. It’s common for sufferers of alcoholic neuropathy to have a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamine B6), and folic acid. Around 50% of alcoholics end up developing some form of alcoholic neuropathy.

Symptoms can include...

  • Numbness
  • Tingling (“pins and needles”)
  • Increased sensitivity in the arms or legs
  • Weakness or cramps in the muscles.  
Pouring a cold one out for the boys

What precautions Can Be taken?

The best way to prevent alcoholic neuropathy is to limit or completely stop intake of alcoholic beverages.

What treatments are available?

Treatments include vitamin supplements (thiamine and folic acid), physical therapy, and medication to help manage symptoms. To prevent further damage, alcohol intake must be completely stopped. Those struggling with alcoholism are recommended to take counseling, see social support groups (Alcoholics Anonymous), or take certain medications.